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Progress in Reducing Nutrient Discharges - Helsinki Commission still concerned about Baltic Sea Eutrophication

Helsinki, 29 Aug 2001 - In all Baltic Sea countries, emissions and discharges of nutrients have been reduced since 1987, according to a report accepted by the Helsinki Commission last week. The report, which investigated discharges and losses of nitrogen and phosphorus from 1987 to 1995, is now available at

In most countries the 50% reduction target has been achieved for phosphorus coming from point sources such as municipalities and industries. However, the target was not reached for phosphorus coming from diffuse sources like agriculture. Here, reductions reached around 20%. For nitrogen, too, the
measures fell short of their aims. In total, nitrogen was only cut down by approx. 35%.

"Most of the nitrogen discharges are coming from agriculture. The challenge is to gain control over the numerous diffuse sources within the agricultural sector.", says Göran Mårtensson from the Helsinki Commission.

The goal to reduce nutrients by at least 50% was declared in 1988 by the Ministers responsible for the Environment of all countries bordering the Baltic Sea. By then, the long-term excess nutrient load had clearly become visible in the Baltic marine environment by more frequent or extreme algal
blooms, and subsequent oxygen depletion of bottom waters.

In general, nutrient reductions were highest in the transition countries, due to fundamental changes in their political and economical systems in the early 1990s. In EU member countries, the observed decrease was usually smaller and was based on water protection measures implemented during that period.

The report also includes national programmes from eight HELCOM Contracting parties on how to further reduce the nutrient load to the Baltic Sea.

For further information please visit or contact:

Mr. Göran Mårtensson, Professional Secretary responsible for the HELCOM
Land-based Pollution Group, phone: +358-9-6220 2221, fax: +358-9-6220 2239,
email: gö

Project Consultant Mr. Heikki Pitkänen, Finnish Environment Institute, PO
Box 140, FIN-00251 Helsinki, Phone +358 (0)9 4030 0366, Fax +358 (0)9 4030
0390, email

Mr. Mieczys?aw S. Ostojski, Executive Secretary of the Helsinki Commission
phone: +358-9-6220 2233, fax: +358-9-6220 2239,

Ms. Ulrike Hassink, Information Secretary of the Helsinki Commission
phone: +358-9-6220 2235, fax: +358-9-6220 2239,




The Helsinki Commission aims to protect the marine environment of the Baltic
Sea area from all sources of pollution. It is an intergovernmental
co-operation of Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany,
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

Wednesday 29 Aug 2001
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